Serial Entrepreneur – Keynote Speaker – Inspirational Leader

"Throw out all the training that shows up with compassionate curiosity. offer a heart of service to truly help someone to get them on a mission with whatever it is that they want to achieve and you become a confidante, not a comrade, not somebody who's just the enemy of my enemy."

- Nick Cavuoto

Nick Cavuoto on.

Talk Takeaways

For the 115th episode, (JP) Jeffrey Potvin takes on Nick Cavuoto – a serial entrepreneur, keynote speaker, investor, and inspirational leader. 

Nick shares his humble beginnings at Circuit City, how Gary Vaynerchuk inspired his mentorship program, MentorMind, and how founders can build a brand around trust, energy, and emotional value.

Topics discussed:

  • Nick and his first Startup
  • Human Behavior and its role in Sales and Marketing
  • Nick shares his best practices in Selling
  • Nick discusses the steps in fueling StartUp Teams
  • Importance of Communication in the Consultative Process
  • The Trust Equation of Stephen Covey
  • Nick’s Gift of Intuitive Knowing
  • Inspiration from Gary Vaynerchuk
  • Nick talks about the Belief System that makes things happen
  • Compassionate Curiosity
  • Creation of MentorMind


Since his early twenties, Nick has “the best kept secret” behind Fortune 500 executive personalities and decision-makers of multi-billion dollar brands like Microsoft, Paychex and Pandora.

Today, he turns today’s top talent into legacy entrepreneurs by leveraging their personal brand to dominate the “attention currency” of their audience.

You’ll find him featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Gary Vaynerchuk’s blog.

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The full #OPNAskAnAngel talk

Jeffery: welcome to the supporters fund ask an investor. I’m your host, Jeffery Potvin and let’s please welcome Nick Cavuoto as our investor today. Welcome Nick. It’s a real pleasure.
Nick: Thank you so much. appreciate you having me.
Jeffery: very excited to have you on today. there’s been, I would say, of probably all the people I’ve had the opportunity to speak with, you have a lot of content online. I don’t know if I was able to watch everything. but man, you’ve got a lot of great stuff and that’s very exciting for anybody that gets the opportunity to chat with you or interview you. they’re always going to be looking for a lot of great content so they can have a lot of backups. So, I’m super excited to be able to review that. So, the way we like to start the show off is that we’d like to learn a little bit more about ourselves. So, maybe you can share a little bit about your background all the way back from Circuit City School, all the great things that you’ve done to get yourself to where you are today, and then one thing about you that nobody would know.
Nick: awesome. Well, I’ll start by saying, my first real world job, I was 17 and started working at Circuit City. and for those of you who don’t know what Circuit City is, then that means you’re younger than me, and I’m 34. So, it’s a pretty cool spot, think of Best Buy, a very similar big box store around electronics. and I’ll tell you the interesting thing about me that most people don’t know because it’s in the context of that story. but I was the number three sales person in the whole company working part-time as a teenager. Basically, I was less than 20 years old and most people don’t know that. but I’ve been in OG and SALS for a long time and I’ve always been very revenue minded but very intentional on the heart basis of what I choose to do and how I choose to do it. So, I started at Circuit City, went from there and had a pretty cool job in college. I worked at the Breakers Hotel in South Florida, learned the hospitality industry which was pretty epic. I had a choice of working there at Mar-a-Lago and chose work at the Breakers. And yeah it was fascinating when they hosted the Ferrari convention of the world there. I met a lot of really powerful people and that was such a neat experience. I went on to go into vocational ministry where I started as an intern executive assistant and then ended up actually being number two in the organization and built the church from a thousand to ten thousand people every weekend with multi-site locations that were international. We had six different locations and that was certainly the first feather in the cap if you will as far as success goes and in business because when you’re running a eight figure budget at 25, you’re running a business. we’re not talking about a couple of 10, 20, 30 or 100 people showing up on a weekend. we’re talking about event marketing and managing huge buzz budgets inviting other public speakers. It was a really cool experience. I had a lot of fun doing that and then from there, I went into the startup world and I worked for my first startup which was called Six Month Smiles. they’re still around to this day doing really cool things. They were the primary technology competitor to Invisalign for essentially creating straight teeth with a less than noticeable look. So, help that company grow by implementing essentially HubSpot as a marketing platform, a sales and marketing platform and I did it with a hundred grand grew, the company by five million in nine months and that’s when I knew that I both had the competence and the confidence to go out into the business world and do something to make a splash. So, post my first startup, I went into fortune 500. I managed a billion dollars’ worth of products at paychecks, managed three different lines of business that were all rolling up into their primary suite of human capital management as a software product and basically got bored in 11 months. I took 300 performing teams, and doubled their revenue and said I’m out of here too. I got sniped from a HubSpot executive who remembered me from the days of Six Months Miles. They invited me into an incubator in Boston and the company basically as of today. Part of the acquisition process was picking up our company but I spent a lot of time in Boston in the startup community there and then built my own agency. I built three different companies. I should have exited on a few of them but I chose to hang on and those are part of the entrepreneur lessons. I was in my late 20s, early 30s and learning really valuable lessons and now I spend most of my time working with high performers. So, we’re talking celebrities, public figures, speakers, inspirational leaders and I’m a bit of a maverick behind the scenes helping them close the gap between where they are and where they want to be and it’s a ton of fun. I have so much fun doing it. So, I believe that people are the world’s most powerful brands and that’s where a lot of my investment opportunities come from.
Jeffery: amazing really. I think that you’ve done quite a few things for the short amount of time or we could say the long amount of time from your Circuit City days to today. if we go back to the Circuit City time and it’s interesting that in all of the roles that you have, you have a defining figure that defines who you are in that role. meaning you took a hundred thousand, made into five million. you took the top three sales people, you were part-time. So, there’s always one metric that defines the role each time that you go through it. What do you think is defining from that time that you started? Is it your hunger and drive for success? Is it your way of breaking through the monotony of what’s being done and finding ways to be clever, more innovative, smarter, faster, quicker to sell? What do you think has really been the feature that defines you in each, not every role, but overall? I say the encompassing thing because when you take those metrics, they are sales driven. they are getting yourself out there, that you’re not afraid of anybody. you’re not afraid to talk to someone, stop them in their tracks and sell them something. What is that piece that really defines each one of those roles that helped you succeed from Circuit City forward?
Nick: human behavior. I’m really good at sales and marketing because I really understand people and why they do what they do and what their fundamental reasons are on why they’re doing it. My brother worked with me at Circuit City, my oldest brother. So, there’s a bit of the youngest in the family, the oldest in the family. little competition there. and he used to get really pissed because he’d be like man, I’m telling everybody about the TVs and all the different specs and what they can do in contrast ratios and you’re like out on Saint Patrick’s Day with your buddy across the street like drinking Long Islands and you come back and close 25,000 worth of deals. I said it’s very simple. I ask them two questions. number one. in the process of bringing you here, like what are you looking to achieve? like basically what’s your goal? what do you want? and be like, well my wife, she loves watching movies and so. like that’s primarily okay. Cool. So, movies or sports? Which one’s more important? Movies are great. Then, you’re going to go with the Sony XBR. and I immediately put them into that product fit based on their needs and desires or their wants and I can just cut that path really quick because I’m great at building rapport with people. and it happens mostly from the visual concepts and or some of the early conversation pieces. I’m not talking to them about contrast ratios. I’m talking to them about imagining what that feeling will be like when all their friends come to their house for the big game and that’s what sells people. It’s an emotion. so, being an illuminator on emotion and not a manipulator on emotion but I’m allowing them. Basically, I suffocate their BS of all the reasons why they can’t do it and I overcome their objections with emotion and essentially with clarity. So, those are the things. but it’s all in human behavior. I’m great at marketing. It sounds great because I understand psychology.
Jeffery: and I think this is brilliant. So, when you’re working with that person, when they initially come to you, how are you getting them? because there’s that. Well, if you don’t buy it today, you’re going to miss out. The price is going to go up. there’s that high pressure sales tactic which everybody thinks they need to use. sounds like you’re approaching this in a less formal way but almost becoming their mentor or their coach on getting the best product by making them feel comfortable enough. in an instance, by learning more of what they want, letting them do the talking. So, you’re spending more time listening while feeding and pulling that information out and then going to call it for the kill. but going in for that end close which is hey man, you’ve given me enough information over the last five minutes of you drooling over this TV that I set you up in front. I’m going to close with you now. Is that a fair analogy on how you’ve worked this process?
Nick: totally. it came out of the foundational understanding that I knew that whoever was showing up spent way more time researching these TVs on amazon or on some industry consumer products site. educators are buyers. They are educated now more than ever so they are already coming in with a preconceived idea. So, what I learned was to pinpoint that distinction. Samsung wanted to be known for having this the best sports television. Sony wanted to be known for having the best television for an experience, which happened to be better in the film sector rather than in the sports sector. So, the technology that went into the TVs was basically I was offering them the same information and the same approach as consumer reports. So, I understood they’re coming in at a 9 out of 10 in their decision making. So, I didn’t want to stray them from their decision. I wanted to reinforce what they already knew was true and my approach was to be a confidant. So, they’re like well, the guy at Circuit City said I should get this one and here’s why which reaffirms their truth that they already had a conversation about that at home with their spouse. So, all I did was reaffirm the things that were already true. If I felt like someone was making a bad decision, then I would be honest with them about it. but I never have done high pressure sales ever. I’ve done 200 million dollars in revenue for my clients. I’ve done eight figures myself and I’ve never had to use a high-pressure tactic because I just believe that the game is a long game because people would come back the weekend after and only buy for me. So, you get more repeat and recurring trust because that was my intent, to be the most trusted person in that room, in a room full of potential sleaze balls. So, that was it man. and I built that reputation and anyone to say hey, if you’re going to go buy a TV, go talk to Nick. and I think that’s great for obviously the reoccurring section of business.
Jeffery: 100%. But I liked what you said because you wanted to be the most trusted person and I think that that makes a big difference because even in today’s world, with the number of startups that are building up around the same products, the same business everywhere, there’s always a difference between how someone is being trusted. are they bringing the right knowledge, information, maturity, emotion, all of these things to the game? and when they’re doing that, how are they balancing that out? Are they trustworthy? are they doing it in a greasy way? and it sounds like the way you were approaching it was and again, I go back to listening because you’re feeding them and you’re giving them the information that meets what they already felt they knew. So, you’re closing them by building that comfort level. and the reason why I’m diving into this is because I look at startups and I see so much of the startup vision of where they want to go, how they want to build the company and they always lack the strength in sales. It is always the toughest part for them. The founder is always the number one salesperson. Well, that shouldn’t be the case. but it is unfortunate because they built the company. but that change has to happen quicker and at a way earlier stage and that comes to building that trust, building that value exchange. that is lacking in that early-stage person that understands how to sell, how to market and because that form has changed so much from your Circuit City days to today and you mention it, very educated consumers. I think it actually makes it even better for the salesperson because they’re coming to you with their shopping cart full and you’re really just going to ring them up because they’ve already done the research. They have all the information and all you’re doing is guiding them through that next stage and I think that that’s where a lot of learning has to come out. and maybe you can share one, two, three or four steps on how you can really get the founder or the startup group to understand how they can really fuel their teams. because it seems like this is really a lacking support area.
Nick: totally. I’m going to give you two things. I’m going to go into that step-by-step process. So, one of my clients was essentially the grandfather of personal development in the west. He started with mind dynamics in the 1970s. So, he really brought the human potential movement to the states and he gave me a really good nugget. His company was called ARC. ARC was like his own LLC and stuff. He built a 40-million-dollar coaching business, met with emperors and presidents. I mean we’re talking. He mentored 1.3 million people in his career. So, this is huge, like the godfather in personal development in training and equipping. so, ARC stood for Awareness, Responsibility and Communication. Now the interesting concept is that they have a certain level of awareness. and I knew this intuitively before I even knew it intellectually, a certain amount of awareness around what they wanted or what their objections were or whatever. So, there’s an awareness piece that exists. you want to uncover that first. The second thing is responsibility. So, what is my responsibility in the journey with the client? and what is theirs? My responsibility is not to convince them. My responsibility is to essentially get them what it is that they want so long as it makes sense for them to do it. I got really frustrated when people would get people filling out credit apps. and let’s call it what it is from a glance. you knew that maybe financially they were struggling. but they would push him and push him and push him and push him. That’s not my responsibility. My responsibility is to have integrity, to be honest and to be forthright and truthful with them and that’s how I measured my success. and my responsibility is to fix the broken TV in their house. then great. they’re there to do that right now. The last thing is communication. it is also very attached to a change model. So, there’s a change that’s happening. So, the communication part for me was to be a guide, be it more of a consultative process, to be their ally. People enjoy a sales process when they’re the one buying and you’re not the one selling. and that’s a concept that in cold hard sells again is not brooded in psychology. I don’t use NLP. I don’t use manipulation tactics. I don’t use high pressure. I focus on the product itself, the marketing that we’re doing within the product. That’s why I was entrusted with a billion dollars’ worth of products at 28. It was because I understood the intent behind the product, how we market it and how the integral line can follow through on this change event that’s happening in their life, in their world or in their business. so that methodology around ARC, all the whole umbrella of that surrounds readiness. you only can shift someone’s readiness to one degree. This is what Robert taught me. if someone comes in and you’re studying them while they’re talking and you’re like what their readiness sounds like, they’re at a three or four. Why not just ask them, just out of curiosity? you’ve probably done a ton of research. How ready are you to make this decision? I understand it may not be with me. I don’t even care. That’s not my intent. my intent is to understand where you’re at. So on a scale of one to ten, how ready are you to buy? Like if this is the right solution, I ask people that on the upfront. Why? Well, because I might tumble because I have to make sure that we even have stock. I don’t want to go tell you that yeah, sure, you could walk away with it today. we don’t have the stock for it. So what’s your readiness? and they might be like, well, an eight. epic. I can close a nine or a ten all day long. those are the ones who just come through the line. you just scan the stuff and they go on their way. if someone’s less than a six, you’re not going to sell them that day, not even close. they’re detractors. they’re actually going to steal away your time and energy and effort and your attention and pull you away from the cell. so if they’re that person, I’m like we’re having a beer. we’re having a coffee together because there’s nothing that I’m going to say today that’s going to get you into a buying position. number seven. lucky seven is the point at which you can tip them over. if they’re like that, I don’t know. I’m seven. you’re like, I could have one conversation. I could drop one nugget today that changes everything and rocket ships the growth. so understanding the buyer, and it’s surprising to me, because most SAS companies or software companies are now developing from the user experience first. but we have to have that show up inside of our product marketing. we have to let the word sell the product, sell itself and then we need to be in the right place with the right person, the right time with the right messaging. and those are the things that typically people overlook. The founder knows it because they’ve convinced x amount of people to work for them, to believe in a product. they’re leveraging their enthusiasm and they’re leveraging their tonality and all of their life experience to close the deal. but the switch happens when you have to lean on product marketing and not the founder and their personality and their bravado to close a product.
Jeffery: So that’s a primary thing. I’ll let you respond to that. and I’ll talk to you about the trust equation. What I like about this is that there’s a couple of pieces that break into this. and I think again, a lot of this is missing from the mindset of a business that has to sell and everybody is selling. you’re selling, we’re all selling every day. and I think what that is, is that what you really defined for the startup.
Nick: There’s two sides of the coin here. it is focused on your product and you define this earlier on by saying Samsung. they created their TV so that it was for sports or Mitsubishi created their TV so that it was for entertainment and movies. but you knew that as a salesperson. and if you didn’t know that, you can’t bucket them and you can’t take that information which is valuable of what they’re looking for to go in to bring them into that product market fit. and a lot of founders may have gone in thinking everybody needs the solution. Well, that’s not really what’s happening here. it’s not everybody. you have to define it. you really have to narrow this down. and that is one way for salespeople to be able to close faster and quicker because they can focus. and then I think the other one is asked questions, lots of questions that can bring out that valuable information. and don’t be afraid to step on toes because if you don’t, you’re never going to know if there are seven and you’re not going to know if you can move them over the edge.
Jeffery: So while you’re diving into this process, what’s your timing on yourself? Are you giving yourself time? Because I know that if I look at something, I’m like if I can’t close this guy in 10 minutes, then I’m doing something wrong. So in your mind, are you always trying to fast track it on the next and the next? so you’re refining it to the tool refining it so that you were able to do this in such a speed that you knew exactly what they were going to say before they said it. you were already walking to the spot where they were going to be. like this, the TV you’re looking for. I can tell right now. What did that look like for you, and then how do you think this can help unfold it for a startup founder?
Nick: totally. so I have a unique gift of intuitive knowledge. it’s just the way that I’m created. I’m just different by design. I can pick up on people’s energy really quickly and I can get a feel for what’s going on in their energy very quickly. so I can usually pick up on that and I’ve learned how to be right most of the time. and there’s times that I’m wrong but that’s less by chance. so what I realized is when someone was walking in the door, I was measuring their energy. First, are they looking excited and upbeat or are they downtrodden and frustrated? like why are they there? I’m trying to pick it up from looking at them and analyzing. the second thing was essentially like if I found out for somebody. like I realized I am not in the business of convincing people of anything. This is probably one of the best nuggets for sales people that you’ve just got to know and this is just how it works. one to three percent of the market is ready to buy right now. That’s one to three out of every 100 people ready to purchase today. Meaning, if you’ve got a list of a thousand people, well you’ve got some deals on the table right now. you can go after even a list of 100 people, you can close the deal. but the trick is understanding how ready they are right. but you have people who will be ready soon who are between three to fifteen percent. so those people will be ready soon. Those are the people that you can actually try to do that readiness test with and push them over the edge. So if you think you’re going to close everybody walking in the door, we all know that’s not going to happen. but for me on pace. No. my spit test is, do I have to convince this person to buy if I realize I have to convince them to buy I will walk away with? and it takes me about 25 seconds, so I immediately shut off the sales brain and I go immediately into how I can best serve them in a transitional element of getting them onto whatever they need to do next. so, in the belly-to-belly sales process, that would be like, well, hey what here’s my card. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out. when I just knew it wasn’t going to happen in the digital world, it’s hey what, actually I’m going to give you some of your time back because, and here’s why. and I’ll tell some people right out of the gate, like based on the conversation. up to this point, I don’t think you guys are ready. I’m more than happy to demo it for you. In fact, I’ll tell you a competitor that you can go talk to because I’ll let somebody else do the hard work of getting them from a five to an eight and then I’ll let them come back when they’re ready. Why? because I was the person who was honest with them, that they trusted. so if my product stands alone as itself and there’s a competitor out there, I know I’m better. I’ll let them run around circles all day long and guess what, being the most trusted person in the room means to be the person who had the integrity and the ethics to go like, I don’t think this the right fit for you guys right now. but when you’re ready, I’m your guy and check in every now. and then, I love it man.
Jeffery: That’s awesome. That’s very smooth and insightful. and I love that it just wraps back to the trust element. it’s just setting the page up for that and I think it really makes a difference. and this goes for, and you mentioned it, I’m glad you did which isn’t all about being offline sales. this all online sales, it all works the same way. it’s how you engage. it’s the branding. it’s the comfort level that you bring to that sale. it’s ensuring that the other person on the other end understands from the beginning to end what you’re trying to achieve and what they’re trying to buy from you or however that process is going to work. you mentioned you’ve got a couple of points on the process side. I’ll let you jump in and share those please.
Nick: yeah. Covey explained this theory of the trust equation. so the trust equation is your credibility, reliability and intimacy and that’s basically divided by our self-orientation of the person. this again what unconsciously, I knew I’m a fifth generation entrepreneur. My dad was a street pharmacist turned franchise owner. My grandfather was a franchise owner. My great-grandfather was a farmer. it goes back a couple more times but I’ve been raised in sales my whole life. and when you learn enough about sales, you realize it’s not sales. and that’s the crescendo at the climax of learning everything you can about sales. This has nothing to do with sales. it has everything to do with relationships which is what credibility, reliability and intimacy are about. think of it in your own life. Who do you want in your corner? if you are making a big purchasing decision, buying a house or maybe investing in something or looking for the next job opportunity, or even if you’re looking for somebody to spend a good portion of your life with, you want them to be credible, reliable and you want to have intimacy with that person. and that’s over your own self-orientation in the way that you describe those elements. So my masterful trick at being great at sales is I just do it the way that I would want someone to do it for me. And that’s it. And who do I want? I want someone who’s consultative, someone who can quench my fears or my lack of certainty with certainty and with excitement and that’s my bulldozer that I use for objection handling. it is usually overcome with higher emotion and sometimes, I can even leverage spirituality. like dude, we only got one of these things left. as long as I’m being truthful, integrity, honesty and truth, as long as those are my guiding principles and that’s true, I’m going to leverage any universal law or principle that we have both. We have the same colored shirt on. I’ll look for anything to create that common intimacy. I might ask them, where’d you go to school or hey where do your kids go to school? Oh, I went to school there too. Done, right? If someone asks about me, I have credibility. I have reliability and intimacy because I was great friends with people. if they say my name, it’s going to come up with somebody who’s trustworthy and that’s the ultimate game.
Jeffery: I like that you utilize the term of personalizing it. I think that this goes back to branding and I think that if you stick to your guns on how you see the world and how you operate from the trust perspective, personalizing it, finding out a little bit of information personally about that person, it’s going to stick. and I love that you pointed out the school part too, that it brands you in a way because I think a lot of today’s generation are now looking at it going oh, GaryVee said you shouldn’t go to school. you should spend your money on becoming an entrepreneur. but it does bring a lot of branding value to you because they can associate where you went, what you accomplished and that also brings that trust factor which is oh, you went to a big school in a big city. Oh, you must be a bad person or you went to a big city. a big school in a small city, oh you must be really grounded people do actually think this way and it does carry a lot of weight and value in your morality of how you’re going to sell 100 percent, I’ll give it protein. I’ll go ahead and go ahead. I was going to say only because I brought up GaryVee. I see that you’ve done some things with GaryVee. and Obviously we’re all big fans of GaryVee. but now that we brought it up, you’re going to have to share that story but do the pro tip first and then we can jump into the GaryVee.
Nick: cool. Yeah, the pro tip is if you read his styles, books and learned more from pick-up artists on how to like talk to girls on Tinder, you’d probably double your sales because again, it’s the human behavior concept of someone choosing you out of a sea of other people. so, how do you become interested? How do you pick out commonalities? How do you approach and have a conversation? and it’s so funny because I’ve been married for nine years. so these things don’t apply to me. but I still study the concepts on the human behavior side. so, I’ll mess with my buddies if we’re out and I’ll be like dude, you should go talk to that girl over there or whatever and he’s like nah, dude out of my league. I’m like dude, you’re a loser. And I tell them straight up and I mess with them right because these are like my homies. but I’ll be like, here’s the deal, put my head on her head. Now, go have a conversation. It’s a game changer. Why? because when you feel like an opportunity is too good to be true, that could be a big deal made with Microsoft for somebody who’s selling an SAS product. they’re going to get five figures of a user base for their product. if you feel like it’s too good to be true, they’ll pick up on that energy and they won’t buy from you. and the other concept too is that most people don’t charge enough money. I’ve seen more people lose deals because they should have added a zero to the deal. and when you’re working on the enterprise level, if you’re not charging enough, they won’t take you seriously enough. so those are two little hacks. like having a conversation like you’re talking to one of your friends that builds the trust factor faster than anything that you can. Imagine, don’t be so pro that you can’t have an honest conversation with somebody the way you would talk to one of your friends. It’s called bro talk in sales. I think that’s what it’s called. but that’s the way it was approached to me which someone said that’s what you do. and I’m like I don’t feel like I do that. I think I just show up very powerfully as who I am and I don’t try to be anybody different. it’s a hack that I’m grateful for that I have naturally. but if more people can loosen up the reins a little bit and say hey how’s life, and not just start with let’s get our presentation started, you’re going to be surprised at how powerful the results are. So yeah, it’s analyzing it right. you’re normalizing that environment of having that pre-discussion, having a little chuckle and then getting down to business. so you’re making it feel like I’m here to deliver something but we can be friends first. we don’t have to drive into this right away. let’s self-familiarize ourselves with each other, small talk and then we’ll jump into the end result. and I like that you’ve got some great observations of course on the energy side which most people may not pick up. but you can control that energy side by the right questions or the right information you share. and I think that’s actually crucial to the starting of any engagement. and then obviously, no one’s going to complain on the charge side , which is to draw your line and make sure you draw that line. because if you don’t, people will beat you up just like a little kid will take you to the cleaners. It’s the same idea. if you don’t draw that line and stick to it, you’ll never have an end point. it’ll just keep dropping down.
Jeffery: super valuable. Thank you.
Nick: you’re welcome. Now the GaryVee store is all right. so 2015 or 16, somewhere around there, and it’s blurry for me because my mom got diagnosed with breast cancer and it was a really hard reality. I remember I could literally play the movie in my head the time that she told me. and it’s okay honey, I’m going to be alright. She’s been in the medical industry for over 30 years. so she’s all in the science in her head about it. and I’m dealing with the fact that holy, my mom could die. I mean this is real stuff. so I remember she told me. and I was right on the precipice of launching my first consulting based agency or firm. and I just remember going like all in, like I was just like I’m going to go all in. so, I would listen to GaryVee in the background of me working because I didn’t have a mentor specifically in entrepreneurship of the modern day. I had my dad, I had my grandfather, but it’s so different. The world’s so different. My dad was a drug dealer. So like the concepts of how to give people what they want, a lot of that comes from there. but the other side was like, that not all principles applied the same, and thank god he found Jesus in his life, changed. but the primary thesis was like his knowledge base. He was in a different way, so I just listened to GaryVee. I love the blue collar approach. I love the honest approach. It felt like he was somebody who I could trust. let’s do them day in, day out. I mean for like 8 to 12 hours a day while I’m working. Well, long story short, I was able to help my mom with her medical bills and covered all her co-pays, handled everything and my mom makes really good money. That’s not the point, the point was that I wanted to be able to show up powerfully for her and have an honest ability to contribute in a time of what I felt like was needed because she couldn’t work and she’s self-employed. so she wasn’t making money at that time and I wrote Gary a letter in an email and I was just like, dude you changed my life and here’s how. and if you look up from my inbox to yours which he started publishing on Medi, that was the first post, zero one and he posted my email and shared briefly about what his experience was there. So that was dope. That started off like a chain of conversation between him and I was able to get my sister an internship at Vainer Media and she worked at the channel working there for about three years before he released his deck on the 87 ways to produce the content. the whole micro content process, I spent before, he did that. I spent about 18 months studying the way that he produced content because I felt like it was the new wave which I was right on. and secondarily, I attached it to the psychographics of what I felt like was happening. so, I created the 13 types of content that every entrepreneur needs to create. and also gave a lot of the foundational work because my sister was there. By then, I threw the back door through her on the foundational strategy of what he ended up building out as like his trickle-down effect which is an old-school OTT over the air process on what they would do with television. so he used a television process of truncating content and then leveraged it essentially through social media. So yeah, that was a cool little hallmark of studying and having essentially the OMNIpresence approach. and all those different types of things I helped my buddy Scott Alford create his methodology which went nuts zero to ten million in nine months. absolutely insane. So yeah, it was really cool. so we had a lot of fun doing that and developed a cool relationship. It’s very different today. like 2015 Gary versus 2022 Gary, different level. so like the comms are not the same as they used to be, but he’s been an integral part of my life. absolutely amazing. and gave me a huge plus one on the content strategy part. and then certainly on the personal part as well. so he’s been a figure of mind man. He’ll always be held in high regard. That’s a great story. it shows you that you do the right things and you focus and you dive in, you can meet your biggest heroes and you can do some work and you can share a lot of great things over the next few years with that.
Jeffery: So I think that’s a brilliant story. thanks man. how does now, taking all these things you’ve gone through and let’s jump into the ministry side and everything else, how much of this builds confidence in you to get you where you are today? you’re able to be there. like I’m going to guess that if you’re sitting in front of a pastor who’s talking in front of a crowd and asked to take an energy level of zero up to 100 and getting everybody whipped up and getting excited about well virtually not being able to see something and being part of a story and being able to leave that place feeling amazing about themselves and being able to watch this learning, your sales side and now you’ve driven all the way to getting into your own coaching side, how much of these experiences that you’ve had have really delivered you to get to where you are today?
Nick: dude, it’s been an incredible journey. and each experience I think lends its own story and area of competency. And then I think there’s a multiplier, a compound effect. like when you’ve had multiple successes in multiple verticals and they’re still based on the same thing. That’s how you find your superpower. so, yeah. I mean motivating 10,000 people every weekend to then get a thousand of them to literally show up to work for free every weekend and volunteer. like that’s the hardest thing that you’ll ever do. That’s the hardest sales pitch you’ll ever have. It is getting people who are literally bought into pure vision and you’re leveraging their belief system in order to be essentially the guiding principle of why they would choose to do what they’re doing. so, when we talk about speeds and fees, and I know the late Steve Jobs talked about this a lot, they focused on the product experience and much less on the speeds and fees, just the features like HP did that and they went towards benefits and outcomes. That’s all rooted in the belief system. and when you talk about a belief system it’s literally a different frequency it’s like tuning your radio to a different channel so, when you’re talking to someone based on their belief system and their values or their virtues and you have a common story that attaches to theirs, that’s the ultimate way to win. like in holistic product marketing. so, a lot of times we speak to the actions and we’re not speaking to the beliefs. and I think that’s where the greatest gap comes up. so if they believe that their job should be easier, if they believe that there’s a better way to do it, those things are a lot more powerful than saying that putting in the mathematics of it, I think that’s much less needed. I’ve always told people, and this was one of my opening lines when I worked in corporate in fortune 500, I said if you can, like for our products that we’re pitching and positioning for the market, if we can put basically our words in their mouth, be it that we can explain the way they feel in a way that they don’t even know how to describe it themselves, we will win. That was my entire thesis on ensuring that I was able to triple three different basically in three different categories, that I was able to double to triple all of their results. It was based on that. That’s why copywriting or messaging or key messaging is so important because you’re identifying the way that a prospect feels when they don’t even know how to describe it themselves. They know how they feel. they just can’t find the words and if you put the words in their mouth, you’ve ultimately won the game. they become your sales vehicle because they’re sharing what you’ve written and they’re defining it by sharing that with their friends, their family, everybody else, because you found how they felt. you made that connection. they love what you’re doing and boom, you’re off to the races. Yeah. If you listen closely enough, your customers will tell you exactly what you do. The problem is most people don’t listen. It sounds like our entire talk today is about listening.
Jeffery: I think, yeah. It seems like better communication because really it comes down to listening. and you mentioned sales, isn’t sales really just communication and it’s understanding and it’s emotion? There are so many of those. we’ll call them catch phrases but they really are what define how marketing works, like branding and that of course is massive. but branding comes from listening. branding comes from understanding your audience and then testing it and building it forward. and you do this online with beta testing. you do this online with everything you do right today. so I think there’s really underlying tones here that it really does take some time. and I’ll share that my line is, listen twice, speak once. and I think maybe in your case, as being someone that is a lot heavier into the sales side, maybe you’re listening four times and speaking once. but make that one time pretty powerful because that’s what’s going to lead them from a 7 to a 10.
Nick: very true man. communication surrounds relationships and the success of them. I tell a lot of people especially when I’m coaching. if they’re having struggles describing their products or if they’re having the heebie-jeebies around sales and stuff, I’ll be like, you don’t need to fix your market, you need to fix your marriage. That’s a real eye-opener for them. really quick as soon as I hit that level and I can pick up on it, it’s game over. Why? There’s a communication problem. There is an empathy problem. I say it this way, the key to the heart is compassionate curiosity. be compassionately curious. I truly want to help you and I’m really curious. Okay, well, tell me about what your experience has been like so far. and they’ll tell you to go. Man, that sucks,. sorry to hear that. what else is going on? and then, they’ll tell you and then you’d be like, dang, well what would it feel like if you didn’t have to deal with that? and they’ll be like, well that’d be amazing. the minute the market’s so savvy, the minute they smell blood like sharks, you’re toast. you will lose integrity. This is why the integral game is so important because if you don’t show up with high integrity and you use tactics that I’m talking about, you’ll get sniffed out so fast. you’ll be screwed. throw out all the training that shows up with compassionate curiosity. offer a heart of service to truly help someone to get them on a mission with whatever it is that they want to achieve and you become a confidante, not a comrade, not somebody who’s just the enemy of my enemy. My friend, you become someone who’s truly in their corner. you can’t buy that. that just comes with truly being a positive intent and I think that’s the best way to sell. be compassionately curious.
Jeffery: I’m getting hot. [Laughter] well, not on the hot side. but brilliant. I know. I love the compassionate curiosity. I think it really does change the way you look at somebody or sales or an opportunity is being able to take that moment and have some empathy for the person on the other side of the table, learn a little bit more, ask the right questions and then move forward. and again this goes back to the whole side of how you’ve framed out your business over the years. but certainly today on how you engage people and how you can motivate them and get the best out of them and that comes through listening and that empathy. so very well shared. and I know that today you’re doing a lot of great things around the coaching side in helping entrepreneurs and businesses better understand the value and what they have and then taking that to the next level, scaling and growing their business. but it all starts with that individual and starts with that CEO and really helping that person figure out their brand, what they’re trying to achieve and I got a lot of great nuggets and my note-taking from how you’re working with these founders and helping them open that up. and maybe just before we transition into the next segment, if you could share a little bit about how your mastermind groups work. I think there’s a lot of groups around the world and a lot of mastermind groups that are coming out. but maybe you can just share a little bit about how you define yourself and how you’re getting these mastermind groups to really take off and bring a lot of value. and that’s really the other day. It’s all about value. Please share some of that.
Nick: yeah. and value to me is based on stability of usefulness. So how useful is it? I want you to take an internal audit right now of the people that you have texted in your phone, the last five people. if those are not people who are lifting you up, who are confidantes for you, who are collaborators in what you’re doing, who are spurring you on and pushing you forward, helping you actually solve different challenges and opportunities in your life and your business, if those people are not the types of people that you want around you, then this the op for you and here’s the deal. like you might want to upgrade the opportunity, the types of people that you’re working with. but you also might feel really stuck because you don’t know how to do it. That’s why I created MentorMind, which for me is an invitation only mastermind group that has a mentorship complex inside of it because it’s entrepreneurs helping entrepreneurs and when you can help another entrepreneur versus if you hire another consultant. That’s usually where the challenges get amplified. you’re like paying all this person all this money and not getting the results that you want. Yeah, go talk to an entrepreneur for five minutes. you solve the problem and watch how quickly it gets done. So if your entrepreneurial community is hemorrhaging or you’re feeling really isolated, that’s what I do. I build entrepreneurial communities to get really epic people around each other. and I’m not talking about epic people who are doing four thousand dollars a month in sales. I’m talking about Justin Bieber’s creative director. I’m talking about one of the biggest franchise owners in the world. I’m talking about the guy who wrote the book on personal branding. I’m talking about the New York Yankees mindset coach. That’s the level of the quality of people. and then I have to remind people, if you’re not there right now, that’s okay. don’t disqualify yourself because you don’t think you’re important enough. That is total BS. The reality for me as you guys have learned today, the reality for me is alignment on being around the right people and getting people access to opportunities they wouldn’t normally have. so if you’re in a position of looking for someone to help navigate challenges or different issues in your business or you’re looking to be with other people who are pushing forward to achieve massive success, then I guess you could take a check out and look at MentorMind and you can apply and I’ll see if you’re good fit based more off of your energy than anything else. These are epic people. Yes, they’re doing really epic things. Yes, why? because I believe you can’t do epic things with basic people. so if you’re in a spot where you’re ready, it’s pretty simple. join it. and the other concept too I think that’s important is if you hire a coach or a consultant or take another quarters, let’s just say you hire a coach for 5k a month, you have one perspective for 60,000 a year. this group, you go check the pricing. and if you go to the site, it’s not even anywhere close to that because this something that I built off of really like my passion to help entrepreneurs. This is a very simple process. but I think here’s the unique thing that’s really worth mentioning on every call. there’s over a million dollars worth of value. We’ve had people walk away and close 385,000 deals from one invitation. That’s the power of having the right people around you. If you don’t have that type of power around you, then you’ve got to take a step in the right direction of really increasing your peer group. so that’s MentorMind. That’s what I do. I don’t coach people one-on-one really anymore. unless I feel a high intent to do it. and with my business where I’m actually practically as a consultant practically applying my hands inside of someone’s business, I’m pretty much topped out on that as well. so if you want to get close to the sun, it’s going to get hot. so I want to encourage you guys to jump in if you want to.
Jeffery: I love it. well shared. and when it comes down to it, the more people make less work, the more hands make less work. so it’s okay to bring in the right hands and the right grouping and the right people. A lot of great innovation knowledge is going to be shared in that group and those are the things that are going to help you improve yourself. but it also creates accountability that we all need. Accountability I think, sometimes we forget that as entrepreneurs. I work for myself. I have a great team who report to maybe my investors. Well, you need somebody else. you need something higher and bigger and more important than yourself to help drive you. and I love that you’ve created this. It sounds very exciting. and I think a lot of people are going to get a lot out of it. the ones they already have, I’m sure they’re talking about it already.
Nick: It’s like the best kept secret man. they’re like, I don’t want to tell anybody. Dude, this is too good. I’m like that’s not how we roll. generosity is the north star man. So, yeah.
Jeffery: I love it. All right. we’re going to change over to our little case study. So the way we want to share on this one is if you can share about a founder that you’ve worked with or yourself and just share what it takes to be an entrepreneur. I’m sure you’ve seen and heard many things throughout your time working with entrepreneurs and there’s just an example that you have that really just helps you really understand, say what it took for their success. they broke through all the odds and this person was fantastic in what they did. Maybe you have a story that you could share that fits in that bucket.
Nick: Yeah, man. well for the sake of time, I’ll make it pretty straightforward for you bro. I think entrepreneurs are people who are committed to the highest good. I think it’s noble if you feel called to be an entrepreneur. you’re focusing on your entrepreneurial tendencies. you want to go out into the world and do something great. it is your personal responsibility in order to exhaust yourself to the highest capability of good. and if you don’t, it’s an injustice to the world. I mean to everybody, to your family and to yourself and certainly to the people who could leverage your brilliant ideas in order to make the world a better place. so I think the ultimate ascension of the north star for an entrepreneur is nobility. It’s about doing the right thing. it’s integrity.
Jeffery: I love it. well said. well shared. and integrity is always a huge part of being a stand-up founder or anybody to be that direct. but thank you. so now we’re going to jump into the personal and business questions. We’ll start with business and pick one or the other. and you’re looking in from an investor’s standpoint. What would you choose, founder or co-founder? unicorn or a four-year 10x exit?
Nick: four year 10x exit.
Jeffery: tech or CPG?
Nick: tech.
Jeffery: NFT or Web 3.0?
Nick: Web 3.0.
Jeffery: AI or blockchain?
Nick: blockchain.
Jeffery: first time founder or second third time founder?
Nick: second third time founder.
Jeffery: first money in or series a?
Nick: series a.
Jeffery: angel or VC?
Nick: angel.
Jeffery: board seat or observer?
Nick: board seat.
Jeffery: safe or convertible?
Nick: convertible. [Music] Jeffery: lead or follow?
Nick: lead.
Jeffery: equity or interest payments?
Nick: interest.
Jeffery: favorite part of investing?
Nick: winning.
Jeffery: I like it. number of companies invested per year?
Nick: probably like five.
Jeffery: Okay, going off like the last 12 months, preferred terms?
Nick: any preferred terms that you have not stopped my head. they’re more complex.
Jeffery: yeah, verticals of focus?
Nick: tech.
Jeffery: okay. two qualities that a startup needs in order to stand out in your eyes, for you to step forward and make an investment.
Nick: it’s off my virtues dude. integrity and honesty.
Jeffery: okay. Perfect. All right. personal side. book or movie?
Nick: movie.
Jeffery: Superman or batman?
Nick: superman.
Jeffery: restaurant or picnic?
Nick: picnic.
Jeffery: nice. five minutes with Bezos or Oprah?
Nick: Oprah.
Jeffery: mountain or beach?
Nick: mountain, then beach.
Jeffery: bike or run?
Nick: bike.
Jeffery: Big Mac or Chicken McNuggets?
Nick: Big Mac.
Jeffery: trophy or money?
Nick: I’m sorry. trophy or money? Oh. Money.
Jeffery: beer or wine?
Nick: wine.
Jeffery: camera or mobile phone?
Nick: camera.
Jeffery: king or rich?
Nick: king.
Jeffery: concert or amusement park?
Nick: concert.
Jeffery: fortune cookie or birthday cake?
Nick: fortune cookie.
Jeffery: Ted Talk or book reading?
Nick: Ted Talk.
Jeffery: the most famous person that pops into your mind?
Nick: GaryVee.
Jeffery: favorite book?
Nick: that one just threw my brain for a total loop. I’m looking at my bookshelf. “The First 90 Days.”
Jeffery: I love that book. The First 90 Days. All right. I don’t know that one. I’m going to look it up. okay. favorite sports?
Nick: team Buffalo Bulls all day.
Jeffery: You might be the first person I’ve ever met that’s a fan. and I even went to games when I was younger. I grew up in Rochester all right. fair enough. the first brand that pops into your mind?
Nick: Google.
Jeffery: favorite movie and what character would you play in the movie?
Nick: The Matrix.
Jeffery: nice. What is the meaning of success to you?
Nick: fulfilling your highest good.
Jeffery: and a final question. What is your superpower?
Nick: my energy. [Music] Jeffery: I like it again. not too many people use the energy side. so I’m highly excited that you’ve explored this side and see how beneficial it is. so it’s pretty cool, pretty exciting. thank you man.
Nick: yeah, my parents were spiritual teachers. so I grew up in it from three years old. So I spent a lot of time with that dude.
Jeffery: Well, thank you. I appreciate it. I appreciate it a ton. and I hate to blitz early but I have a group call that I have to leave that’s starting right this second. so we hit it right on the dot bro. you’re right on the dots. so I was going to say we leave the last word to you. so I want to thank you very much Nick for all of your time today and thank you very much for joining us and feel free to share one last comment to investors of startups. but thank you very much for all the valuable insights you shared.
Nick: You are different by design. so go act like it and move forward in it.
Jeffery: I love it. Well, Nick, enjoy your day. have a great group. thank you for all your time man.
Nick: Thanks my man, much love. we’ll see you. Bye.
Jeffery: Well, that was great and I love the perspective that Nick brings all the way from coming in from not only on the sales and marketing side, but taking all of that and learning it and bringing that out into the coaching side coming up with the process. I love that he uses the energy side. Everything is about trust. and really, when you’re building your business and your brand, everything around trust, energy, emotional value. it really does bring a lot of credibility back to your brand, into your business and creativity, emotion, reliable networking sales. all these things that he utilized really do emphasize one thing which is a trusted entity. and I think all startups can see that if they can build this into their business. There is a huge opportunity to generate more value for your customer, more value for your business and people love trustworthy businesses. so I appreciate all your insights today, a great story on GaryVee and again thank you very much for all your insights. absolutely well shared Nick. Thank you. Thank you for joining us today. If you enjoyed this conversation, please feel free to share with your friends or subscribe to our YouTube channel. follow us on Spotify, Apple Podcast and or Stitcher. Your support and comments are truly appreciated. You can also check us out at or for any startup events, visit Thank you and have a great day.
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